Make sure you have an agreement in place before you share confidential or unpublished research, data or materials with an outside collaborator.

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MU researchers should have a nondisclosure, material transfer or data transfer and use agreement in place before sharing unpublished or confidential research information, materials or data with an outside collaborator.

  • These unfunded, or nonfinancial, agreements are contracts between two parties (absent sponsored research funding) that may be required to advance your research. They may be stand-alone or related to a funded research agreement. 

  • Only authorized university administrators can execute research contracts. Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) professionals develop them and negotiate contract terms and conditions. 

Types of unfunded agreements

Nondisclosure agreements

You should not disclose confidential or unpublished information with an outside entity or collaborator without having a signed confidentiality agreement in place. These agreements are referred to as nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) or confidentiality disclosure agreements (CDAs).

Information disclosed to an outside entity without the protection of such agreements can compromise MU’s ability to obtain patent protection for your innovations. SPA negotiates the terms of the NDA, obtains official signatures and secures approval from the University of Missouri System’s General Counsel office.

Outside parties interested in obtaining or sharing confidential information with you will sometimes send agreements directly to MU investigators. Please forward these agreements as soon as possible to SPA for processing and approval. 

Data transfer and use agreements

A data transfer or data transfer and use agreement is a binding contract in which one party agrees to provide access to a data set or database and defines how the data may be used. These agreements may or may not be related to human subjects research data. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule, which protects an individual's medical records and other health information, defines a data use agreement as an “agreement into which the covered entity enters with the intended recipient of a limited data set that establishes the ways in which the information in the limited data set may be used and how it will be protected.” 

See data classification system definitions on the UM System’s website.

Material transfer agreements

A material transfer agreement (MTA) is required to transfer or receive materials from an outside entity. The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the materials and any derivatives. Biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, plasmids and vectors, are the most frequently transferred items, but MTAs also might be necessary for engineering samples, chemical compounds, software and other research materials.

SPA staff are responsible for the negotiation and completion of MTAs.

If you are shipping chemical, biological or other potentially hazardous materials, please consult MU’s hazardous shipping/transportation policies.

Other unfunded agreements

SPA also reviews and negotiates:

  • Equipment sharing agreements.
  • Teaming agreements.
  • Memoranda of understanding (MOU/MOA/LOA).
  • Cooperative research and development agreements (CRADA).
  • Collaborative research agreements.
  • Umbrella agreements.


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Questions? Contact us or call 573-882-0104.

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601 Turner Ave., Turner Avenue Garage Room 201
Email: Phone: 573-882-7560